Crabtree and Paul Mills have been making music together since
2000, and as a duo sInce September 2006. In September 2011 they
completed their third duo CD,’Rise Above’.
a performing duo, Crabtree & Mills have reached a new peak.
The arrangements are more elaborate than ever and the trademark
blend of their voices has never sounded richer.”
Their performances are both simple and elegant: meaningful,
heartfelt lyrics, beautiful melodies and amazing
instrumentals featuring Paul’s phenomenal fingerpicking guitar
was born on a Yorkshire moor and raised on the ballads of the
British Isles. In Toronto, her artistic roots took hold in
poetry-filled coffee houses and the after-hours clubs of the
50’s and 60’s, influenced by the artists of that jazz/folk
era. She performed as a solo folksinger and later with a folk-rock
band, touring throughout Canada and the British Isles for several
years. However, raising a family and developing a career in
psychotherapy resulted in Joanne putting aside professional
musical pursuits until her recent collaboration with Paul Mills
and a return to newly inspired songwriting and performing.
Mills wears many hats: musician, musical arranger, record
producer/engineer. He was also a senior manager for CBC radio,
producing national folk music programs and drama series as well as
overseeing the design of CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio Theatre in
over 40 years Paul has been a major presence on the Canadian folk
music scene. From his student years performing at London,
Ontario’s Smale’s Pace to producing over 150 albums for
performers such as Stan Rogers, Sharon, Lois and Bram, and Ron
Hynes to name a few. He has produced 4 gold and 2 platinum records
and has received numerous Juno and EMAC nominations and awards.
his significant contributions to the health of Canadian folk
music, Paul was chosen by the Ontario Council of Folk
Festivals to be honoured with the 2011 Estelle Klein Award.
I am a city singer.
The people who lit the darkness for me were the anonymous creators of the ballads in Dr. Child's literary collections, the Kingston Trio, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Len Chandler, Martin Carthy, and a long line of torch singers from Ruth Etting to Doris Day.
And even though I was born on Ilkla Moor (without a hat, I'm told), and even though my father was a Yorkshireman who sang me Widdicombe Fair while I was still a babe in arms, my artistic roots took hold in the poetry-filled coffee houses, the after-hours jazz clubs, the earnest folk venues of Toronto in the late fifties and early sixties.
My career as a solo folk singer began in 1960 at a Grey Cup party at Toronto's Park Plaza Hotel and ended in 1966 at Toronto's Riverboat in Yorkville. In between were many coffee houses and campus concerts in Ontario, Western Canada and the British Isles. During that time I sang hundreds of songs on a regular basis.
After the birth of my first son, my folk-rock band, Hard and Soft, kept me busy enough musically until 1978.
In 1966, I put aside music as my principal pursuit, and from then until 1990, dedicated my life to becoming the best parent and best psychotherapist I could possibly be. Those were joyful and productive years, but eventually the need to express myself through music returned in a powerful way, and I began seeking the path back to a musical life, a path that eventually led me to the Millstream Studios in Toronto, and to the most rewarding musical collaboration of my life, my partnership with Paul Mills.
From the working relationship between Paul and me have come two exciting album projects, a performing duo, and the inspiration for most of the best songs I’ve ever written.
Paul Mills is a graduate engineer, musician, musical arranger, graphic designer, and record producer/engineer.
This unique combination of skills has resulted in a varied career. He joined CBC Radio in 1972 as a music producer and later moved over to the Radio Drama department as producer and executive producer. As a music producer for CBC Radio in the Seventies, he conceived and produced a national folk music program called “Touch The Earth” which was hosted by Sylvia Tyson. As a drama producer, he developed the award-winning series, “The Scales of Justice” which was later adapted for CBC Television. Later, he was put in charge of planning the radio facilities in the new CBC building in Downtown Toronto and eventually became a senior manager for CBC Radio.
In addition to his work at CBC, Paul Mills has been part of the Canadian folk music scene and recording industry for over thirty years. He has produced over
150 albums working with artists such as the late Stan Rogers (all but one of Rogers’ albums were produced by Mills), Sharon, Lois and Bram, Eric Nagler, Ron Hynes and John Allan Cameron. He is one of the founding partners of the folk music record label called the “Borealis Recording Company”. He operates his own recording studio called “The Millstream” which is kept busy with several of his own record production projects.
January of 2006 saw the release of his first solo album, "The Other Side of the Glass". which was critically acclaimed. His performing career has included his own solo work plus accompanying a wide variety of other artists. He is also part of the children's group, The Celtic Rathskallions.
Since 2007, he has been one half of the duo Crabtree and Mills – a group whose ever expanding popularity is keeping him busier than ever.
Albums produced or engineered by Paul have earned four gold records (sales over 50,000), two platinum records (sales over 100,000), 5 Juno nominations – Canada’s equivalent of the Grammies – and 5 East Coast Music Awards. Natalie MacMaster’s record, “My Roots are Showing”, which Paul engineered, won the 1999 Juno award for best instrumental album. Sharon Lois & Bram’s recording “Skinnamarink TV”, co-produced by Paul won the 2000 Juno for “Best Children’s Album”. Ron Hynes’ CD “Get Back Change”, received the East Coast Music Awards nod for Best Album and Best Country Album of the year in 2004.